LIB Lifts 2019

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The LIB sign in front of attendees flocking to the cool lake 

Almost no one could have predicted what began as a small birthday party for friends and family in Santa Barbara in 1999 with 1,200 people to balloon into one of California’s, and the world’s, most loved music and art festivals. It wasn’t until 2004 that people paid to attend, and more DJs and artists were recruited. The founders (the production company known now as The Do Lab) grew up going to Burning Man, and have been greatly influenced by that and their work with Coachella to mesh the corporate and off-the-grid worlds into a creative and like minded community. 

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Co-stage builder Alina poses in front of the Woogie stage

As co-founder Jesse Flemming said, “We now have a younger crowd, a Coachella college crowd, and that’s great, but we have to show them the way and address some of the issues of the world. That’s what sets LIB apart from other festivals. We have a 6 Ways of LIB code of conduct that we really push to teach people the ways that we wish to see and interact with the world. One of our major goals is to respect the land, and use sustainable workshops so that people can take this back to their everyday life after they leave the festival. We only allow 5% of our food vendors to sell meat to really highlight how big sustainability and climate change are for us. That’s the goal, for people to come here and have a reset from everyday life, to get away from their anxiety and politics and keep this energy as alive as possible throughout their lives.” 

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A sustainable food vendor hands out free Acai bowls that benefit an organization that fights climate change 

Indeed, LIB boasts some of the largest amounts of workshops of any festival in the U.S. besides Burning Man, covering everything from physical Kundalini yoga and breathwork to energy healing and massage; dietary classes such as plant-based Keto and others in the Learning Kitchen; ArtClave art classes, and many others. This is what makes LIB a ‘Transformative’ festival, as it’s more than just partying- rather it’s about growing your limitless potential and focusing on what you want to for yourself with the help of and connection to others. 

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A body paint artist works their magic 🙂

Speaking of connection with others, the entire vibe of the festival is a family one, and what it takes to run a festival often asks of people to give more than they have- this is how the Do Lab gets everything done so quickly between Coachella and LIB. Everyone works together to give their all, and even the founder’s parents help at LIB every year. “We have so many babies that are LIB babies- whose parents met at LIB through a magical connection. These are the types of stories that keep us going even in the chaos of creating a festival,” said Flemming. 

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Expert Kundalini teacher Jai Dev Sing teaches his ways

This year the festival was held at a new venue in Buena Vista Lake and also incorporated a new stage, which always poses challenges, but the team pulled it off gracefully. For many, this was their first LIB and they didn’t notice much of a difference, but others missed key LIB monuments from the past such as Meditation Mountain. Regardless, there was still a magical energy of play, as this new venue is typically a thriving park used by mostly families. Music headliners such as Flying Lotus, who used immersive 3D experiences during his set, in conjunction with the art and magic abound, made it an elevating weekend!

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Psy Trance DJ Khromata on the right breaks in the new Stacks stage

International Bamboo Bass: how Rodriguez has cultivated the Costa Rican techno scene through travel

One of the two gorgeous stages featured at Bamboo Bass:)
A Canadian artist showcasing his live painting at Bamboo Bass
Performers who accompanied musical acts with dancing, fire spinning, arial work, and more!

Bamboo Bass: a collective of artists and performers from all over the world celebrating bass and techhouse music in the paradise of Jaco, Costa Rica, located about 30 minutes inland in the heart of the jungle. From Canadian and Costa Rican production and artists to those from all over, this was a beautiful celebration in the jungle.

DJs Esteban et al under Puchero records
DJs Kevin York and Newball under Puchero records

One artist and her record label in particular caught our eye. Meli Rodriguez is a Costa Rican native, and the founder of Puchero Records, which works with not only Costa Rican artists, but those from all over the world. Not only is she an amazing DJ and advocate for women’s rights, but she is also a huge fan of traveling, filmmaker, producer, promoter, and web designer. Having lived in other countries such as Austria, Chile, and Spain, she experienced the techno scenes in these places and brought them back to create her own techno and electronic music scene in Costa Rica.

Meli Rodriguez bearing the symbol of her record label, a Pineapple 🙂

When living in Spain, she met her husband, and she came back to Costa Rica, and began to throw “formal” parties, and market towards a young audience, but soon she brought everyone into the mix. Soon enough, Puchero records has taken a stronghold in Costa Rica. Rodriguez recognizes the importance that music and art cultivates in people from different cultures and countries appreciating each other. In light of international women’s day, she says it is of upmost importance to “empower each other as much as possible”.

To DirtyBird or to Dirtybird?

I have been to many, many festivals in my life, but DirtyBird Campout is something unique- it’s fun for adults! I haven’t been to a festival that has so many games- and DJs host different games to interact with fans! This makes the entire environment inclusive and friendly. Between water balloon tosses, sac races with DB Producer Claude VonStroke (“The Claudefather”) and yoga with Omnom, there is always a wide array of activities going on during the day, along with delicious food (I was so happy to see a vegan BBQ menu alongside a traditional meaty BBQ!) . During the nighttime, amazing techno and house DJs take over the stage, with everything from dark techno to funky house mixed with hip-hop to trancey house. Camping with a group of amazing Canadians, it was awesome to see that they had traveled outside of their country because they enjoyed DBC so much the last two years! It’s this kind of energy that keeps this festival going, bringing back fans annually. I met a lot of people who have been to every DBC, which is unusual and says a lot.

Burning Man 2018: The Desert of Connection

People can say what they want about Burning Man- that it causes immense carbon emissions (which goes against its principles), and has been sold-out and popularized into the corporate world, etc., and these things are true. But the point people are missing, and haven’t felt is this community open to adaptation and change, coupled with acceptance, to combat the hypocrisy of the global world in which we live. This acceptance encompasses the bad which comes from good, and good which comes from bad. We cannot glorify nature and condemn technology, or glorify technology and condemn nature; we must realize we live in a world where they are now, in large part, very dependent on each other. Technology must be, in many ways, modeled after nature, and the survival of natural resources against pollution and other human activities is largely dependent on our ability to find the technology to undo the problems we have caused with technology. It is in this madness that we find ourselves living everyday life in the United States and much of the world, uncertain of the facts we are given by news and the media, and still feeling as though the structures around us protect us from harm when we know that they often cause it.

This past Burn, there was a light show of 600 Drones (above), created by Studio Drift, a couple from Amsterdam, who modeled the design after the migratory flocking of birds. Here, we can see how technology can not only mimic nature perfectly, but also do so in a way that shows the peaceful side of technology, with an immense capacity for creating interactive art and live art installations. Ironically, as many issues posed by climate change drive bird species to extinction, this Drone show may well be a way for people of the future to see how birds once migrated. Interestingly, the Playa (the desert landscape of Burning Man) doesn’t hold any life (no plants can grow there, nor animals live there), but there is a different energy of liveliness created by a collective consciousness created by the human visitors who come onto the playa with intentions for their week there,  artists who have been tirelessly working on their installations for months, and workers who have been creating the structures (both physical and institutional) so that Black Rock City (the formal city which hosts Burning Man) is created.

In fact, the creator of Burning Man Mr. Larry Harvey said, “The essence of the desert, is that you are free to create your own world, your own visionary reality”, so that there is a ”deep parallel between desert and cyberspace”; “‘Both Burning Man and the Internet make it possible to regather the tribe of mankind.” Where there is chaos, there is room for endless possibilities. However, Harvey also hinted that the desert and Burning Man also reveal the limits of technology by showing the spirituality which can be shared by collective living beings, which no technology can emulate. In many religious contexts, the desert is a place for reflection on our relationship with God, and reminds us of our vulnerability by stripping us of most resources under harsh conditions.as we are challenged both physically and mentally.

As MARÍA GONZÁLEZ DE LEÓN said,

“The desert reveals the paradox between simplicity and complexity. Both visually and symbolically, it exalts clarity, honesty and cleanliness in all its manifestations. It is maximum freedom and at the same time the impenetrable maze. The void that it projects works as a complete mirror that shows us, reflected, as a synthesis of what we are. In the desert, the exterior void obliges us to look inwardly, making it plain what poets, philosophers and scholars have been saying for centuries: that which is outside of us reflects us.”

Thus, the location and nature of Burning Man brings us to the human paradox, of endless submissiveness to nature, the elements, and God, while simultaneously wired for adaptation and creation as influenced by our outside world, and how we interpret it.

While technology moves us forward in many ways, we can also see how it contributes to our access but not necessarily sustainably, especially with Art Cars (below). Although not sustainable in use of gas, these are another form of art themselves, and fuse music with movement, which encourages dance and brings people together in amazing ways. It is seen within all forms of life, animals, plants, everything, the need to create. We build nests, we raise young, we make art installations and music and artcars, we tell stories of our experiences and those which we imagine and dream of, much in the same ways that octupi can build their own homes with coral decorations. We are all united by this thread of the need to create, and adapt to the changing world around us. What we create is destroyed at some point by nature and other forces, or else lives on through time. In this way, the world has always been shaped by innovation, and the ability to create new and adapt to circumstances which change.

The Dragonami from Colorado

Flower Power Art Installation

Mystic Valley-Thailand

This past weekend, I worked Mystic Valley Thailand, in Khao Yai National Park. I was blessed enough to talk to two of my favorite artists (Nakadia and Alle Farben) who performed, and take many pictures of many beautiful people and moments (below). <3<3

Favorite artists:

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Nakadia (Thailand). Nakadia is one of Thailand’s most loved underground techno DJs. Even just watching her performance, her charisma and personality sparks laughter and smiles in the crowd from her pure light and energy. She grew up with little resources, and is self-made in every light possible, making her success all the more inspiring and beautiful. After working on her skills in Braunschweig, Germany, in the summer of 2003, she decided to move from rural Isaan in northern Thailand, and she started to DJ and play for European tourists in Koh Samui. She then started touring internationally as she gained fans, and since has been one of the first female DJs from Thailand to gain global recognition.

Br33zzyy Question: What is your favorite part of making music?

Nakadia Answer: To bring people together, to be able to represent my country and bring people a taste of Thailand that they normally don’t get, especially in the Western world, is amazing. I love music’s ability to do that- I bring all my friends onstage, and to be able to have friends from all over the world is awesome. If you have a passion, a drive, a desire to do well- you will always be successful. Every moment of your life will feel precious, and you will infect those around you with happiness- that is what living is all about.

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Alle Farben (Germany). 

Br33zzyy Question: Have you been to Thailand before? How does performing here compare to other places where you have played?

Alle Answer: Yes, I have been to Thailand before, but never to Khao Yai, and I feel blessed. I just played at Koh Phagnan, and it’s a magical place. All of Thailand is. Soon I will be touring in the US- I start out in LA. I’m excited to see California. This is one of the smaller festivals I’ve worked, but that’s nice because when they get too big it’s overwhelming and the vibes can get off-center. You can connect with the crowd and see individuals and their beauty a little bit more easily. Thailand has a vibe different than many other places- the locals are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and there’s an eclectic expat community that attracts a lot of free spirits (besides all the old dudes trying to get girls). I definitely want to come back to Thailand soon.

 

 

Angkor Wat: an Empty, Hidden Treasure

Some depressing poetry to fit the mood of this beautiful, ancient place that was abandoned after Buddhists took power in Cambodia.

This bus window reminds me of Los Angeles, of dodging people dried out by drugs and the sun, drunk wanderings and eating Thai food. Arguments, lots of them, about things irrelevant, blowing through the air like beautiful dragonflies (ugly upon first glance), but blossoming into beauty, becoming nothing in a sky of love and hate and endless energy.

Did you come to say goodbye? Fire and water were never meant to balance, both selfish in their burns and drowns. Igniting the other, jealous of different strides and the qualities they wish they could both possess.

Distance and time have changed our minds, dreams and goals our spirits. I must be free, free, and you want security because you never had it. I let my flame down to lie, and watched your Grandmother die. I know you regret letting me in, and haven’t been right ever since, but how can love work when we both know that to trust is a sin?

I’m just speaking my mind, I’ve found the path of divine love that will never lead you astray. Once you love what makes you different, you’ll see that we’re all the same, and life is just a greedy game, darling it pains me to see you float away. No time or touch wasted, just growth for ourselves, addicted to each other, love our medicine instead of looking for help.

Lately I’ve been livin like I don’t care if I die, you say we’re too different, we manipulate with words like sweet cherry pie turned sour, too early or too late, always competing for who could have less on their plate, to feel empty inside to match how we’re feelin, if you compare us to others then life will have no meaning.

You say I don’t talk, but I’ll say I love you forever. Just hoping sanity and sanctions stay together, stronger for having known you, learning about my flaws and strengths. Your first true love, I wanted to love life like me, never wanted you to break. I can’t say if things will be better or worse, just know that I have always put you first. I’ll never forget holding your life’s strings in the hospital, playing with fate, for me it was always just love and hate, no one can do the same.

Sometimes I wish I could go back, before I knew the world was so big, now I see the truth and there is no time to waste on unhappy things.